The Androids are coming!

If you search for Android in Google there no surprise that the first hit will take you to Google’s Open Handset Alliance page with tons of information and help on Android, and in fact 90% of the first page results are all about Google’s Android. There is one hit that points to the wikipedia page describing a more familiar definition of an Android.

Now if you look at that page, the results from Google are predictive to say the least, but one surprising fact about the page is that there is no sponsored links! Well there is one, sometimes, but there is no one making money from that page.

Now if your business model is based on advertising revenue and you are the number one search engine in the world with millions of hits per second, there’s no wonder you are a leading success and a global brand. Your revenue is based on selling advertising space, your clients pay for the benefit of reaching your vast audience and rely on you placing there ads on the first page in the right place. Of course you have competition, but being number one and staying at number means that you are smart, competitive and understand what the consumers want better than your rivals.

Staying two steps (or more) ahead of the rest means that they are all competing with each other whilst you are defining the next steps and not just waiting for it to arrive.

So who or what will threaten Google? This recent article in Business Week raises an interesting point.

You see according to the article, over two thirds of Americans have experienced Mobile Internet Services and of course this figure is growing. In Europe and in Asia we’ve been doing it for years and faster, but with wireless cities appearing, WiMax on the way, China and India exploding onto the scene and more recently, Cuba, there will be a shift from the traditional PC to the Mobile device. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t likely to be an overnight shift nor will it be a migration from PC to Mobile. What is happening is that more and more of us are experiencing better quality browsers and applications on the mobile platforms and we are embracing it.

According to Gartner, in 2006 there were just under 1 billion mobile phone units shipped worldwide and in 2007 this was around 1.13 billion. With Apple and RIM entering the market the devices are more attractive and functionally stable compared to the browsing experience on early Nokia and Motorola devices. These new devices really are becoming usable and I can at last see the day where I carry a single device.

With the increase in mobility the target audience for the ad execs is now mouth wateringly vast, BUT, the traditional banner ad and sponsored search ad will not do. The billions of mobile and wireless consumers will not accept the same content squeezed into a mobile device display. So, what’s the plan?

Enter Android. Develop a new mobile operating system that will allow your winning business model to thrive. So far, the advertising on Android is anyone’s guess, but personalisation and profiling seems to be the way forward. The recent launch of Blyk from Orange is a good example of how Google’s business model will continue to thrive on the mobile platform and some are predicting a coverflow type of interface that will contain target advertising as well as the content you request.

Tell me

Microsoft, yes Microsoft have launched a voice activated search application for the Blackberry, even before a Windows mobile version! Brushing over that fact, I have to say that I’d love to try it out, but being in the UK it seems I’ll have to wait.

Whilst in the US a couple of weeks ago, I played a lot of golf. Every [other] day we searched local golf courses for times and fees to get the best all round locations. Usually using a desktop/laptop, Google maps and a phone we canvassed local golf courses that met our criteria. As you can imagine, local in Florida is a 30 mile radius and golf courses in a 30 miles radius are plentiful. I’m not going to count.

I can really see how usefull this application can be especially when GPS is stable, fast and effective as it was in Florida.

In the meantime, I’ll be testing Yahoo oneSearch with voice support for Blackbery.

Microsoft Zimbra?

I really like Zimbra’s collaboration suite.  I remember looking into Zimbra, amongst others,  a few years ago when I decided to investigate what alternatives corporate Microsoft Exchange users had if they chose not to follow the MS Exchange road map.

At the time many of the alternatives available on the market lacked mobility, archiving and Outlook integration.  These were some of the criteria at the time.

The lack of functionality is no longer the case.  Zimbra now supports true push to Blackberry devices and also incorporates archiving and discovery.  The reality of moving from a Microsoft server platform is becoming reality.

Having said all that, look a little harder at the corporate level and you’ll see that Zimbra is owned by Yahoo and there is a possibility that this could all fall under a Microsoft brand in the future.  So what will become of Zimbra or indeed Exchange (which incidental is in need of a serious overall from the ground up)?

I can’t wait, but I fear we will all have to.

Blackberry and Apple pie

I’ve recently taken delivery of a brand spanking new Blackberry 8310, the Curve with GPS. I have to say that for the first time in my search for the perfect device I can see a light at the end of the tunnel. I would certainly loose my Razr and not be embarrassed to hold the Curve to the side of my head and finally consolidate into a single device.

Unfortunately I am easily distracted. We are told that the iPhone is coming to the UK on November 9th, and maybe this is the baby that will solve my problems? Well no, I know this and you all know this. We all know what the shortfalls are and strategically why. I will wait for a 3rd or maybe 4th generation iPhone to be released before I hand Steve my hard earned cash.

Then I had a thought… maybe Steve could have my cash a little earlier than that. What if I bought myself that most beautiful of devices; the iPod Touch? Fitted with a Wi-Fi radio, surely I’ll be able to install a soft-phone client like Skype and voila! an “IP-od-Touch-iPhone”? My sources tell me that is unlikely what with the closed architecture and nature of the beast, Steve will only allow me to do what he wants me to and when he wants me to do it.

I want one, I don’t need one, I simply want one.

On the road again…

It’s that time of year again, when the kids break up from school and the airlines hike up the prices and the threat of airport and airline strikes add to the joy stress of seeking out that anticipated annual search for fun, rest and of course a little education.

We are not unique.  A few million will be heading off to far and wide destinations in search of much the same.

One thing we will all have in common of course is that fact that we will all be connected in some way or another.  The ability to have mobile access to voice and data is great and extremely seamless.  The only downside is of course the cost of roaming outside your home territory. My wife has suggested that we buy local SIM cards whilst abroad.  Can anyone suggest the best and most economical way of doing this in the US?

We have IP devices that offer the attraction of cost effective VoIP, but there will still be a need to call each other across a cell network.

Go Global not regional.

Whilst many organisations have accepted globalisation and embraced it to create many more opportunities, it seems Apple are trying to do things differently.

Region encoding DVDs piss me off.  There is very little justification for it.  It’s another obstacle that is overcome with simply technology hacks.

To my point…Apple have announced they are launching the iPhone in the US ONLY on AT&T and it will not be able to be unlocked or switched to other providers.  So Europeans and Asians wanting to be one of the first to own one will either have to wait until local providers take it on OR put up with a over priced roaming device (unlikely).

Why?  Why are you doing this Apple?  I’m sure there is a business strategy that will provide Apple with the target market and the financial rewards, BUT it can work to their advantage if they launched worldwide at the same time, surely. 

I realise that some of the delay is caused by the telco providers, especially due to the fact that the device is a Wi-fi device capable of destroying their business model with VoIP, but that’s a threat they need to overcome and turn into an opportunity.

Very soon, I’m sure, there will be a method of unlocking a US iPhone very soon.  So why not avoid this and go global at day one?